This program of work has been transformational for SA Government. It has encouraged agencies to collaborate, working together with a customer-focus to produce content and services to meet customer expectations.
Implementing a strong governance structure was key to our success. The Ask Just Once strategy was approved by Cabinet. Franchise topics and lead agencies were endorsed by Chief Executives. Each franchise has a Board, with executive representation of all partner agencies and customer reference groups. Franchise teams are staffed by the lead agency and content authorship is distributed across business owners. The core team has responsibility for program management, stakeholder management, editorial and quality assurance, infrastructure, policy and strategic communications.
The strong and clear governance structure, from the highest levels down, ensured teams were empowered to progress each franchise project in the face of resistance to change.
Another key lesson learned was the success achieved through focussing on customers and content, rather than technology. Most internet projects within government begin with a focus on procuring the right technology to deliver what is required. This often leads to delays in implementation, and allocation of resources to technology instead of content development. Content is often then developed to suit the platform and the corporate message instead of the customer. A focus on identifying the target audience and recruiting reference groups from the target audience to understand what they really want from government required a paradigm shift for all involved and resulted in a truly customer-focussed website.
The co-location of franchise teams with eGovernment while developing initial content enabled sharing of a broad range of knowledge, skills, and ideas, and assisted teams to maintain a customer focus away from departmental culture.
The core team has worked with agencies in the development of content to also gather their business requirements for an enterprise content management system. This will be delivered in Phase 2, with a focus on delivering what is needed for customers in the new technology.
Regular health checks were performed by an independent consultant, providing external validation. This proved a valuable tool in gaining and maintaining executive support for the program.
Development of a common internet site and transactional services enables cost savings and cost avoidance across government. The fact that government departments will no longer duplicate efforts in producing parallel systems and functionality means that resources can be redirected across the public service. Common systems and processes across the whole of government also results in less retraining when staff move to a different department.
One example of shared functionality is Bizgate, the centralised secure payment gateway managed by eGovernment. All the functionality, including forms, online shop, event bookings, wizards (e.g. concession eligibility, business loan finder) is available for reuse. The Bizgate payment system interfaces to agency systems, with funds going straight to agency, with no wasteful double handling of money. The system can be tailored to agency needs and ‘skinned’ and branded according to agency requirements.